Posts Tagged With: Friends

Welcome back, Icarus!

I know… I know how long it’s been since I’ve written. And I have no excuses – only apologies. But I’m back, friends – and I’ve missed y’all more than you know!

So, let’s see… Where do I even begin? It was a fairly rough winter for both Mommy and me. I didn’t know that Southern California winters could get cold enough for me to need a blanket at night! Not all winter, of course… but there were definitely some cold snaps! Even the spring has been riddled with rainy days, chilly nights, allergies and injuries… But I’m officially back to work, getting back into shape, and I’ll be ready to start hitting up some competitions this summer!

A Birthday Bash, or: Finally, Adulthood

In March I turned 8 years old, and I’m sure you know what that means… don’t you?

It means that I have to put away my “foalish” ways and act like a mature adult (even if I don’t feel like one!) But Mommy keeps telling everyone that her “little boy is growing up,” and I think that’s a pretty good indication that I’m successfully faking my way through “adulthood!”

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But that’s not to say that it’s all seriousness all the time, though. You know my Mommy… she loves to have fun and be silly, and she’d never deny me that joy!

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For my eighth birthday, Mommy baked me a carrot cake decorated with frosting and carrot sticks. It was delicious!

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And I have to admit that I’m glad Mommy didn’t get me a silly party hat this year, like she has every year prior. This time when she insisted on giving me a “party hat,” I told her I would just wear a normal, cool hat – because I was the life of the party, anyway!

Thankfully, she agreed – and I got to pick the hat that I wanted to wear.

So, naturally, I stole the one right off of Mommy’s head!

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Making Friends and Influencing… Kitties?

Since the last time we spoke, I’ve done so many fun things and met so many new friends.

Mommy and I have gone on some trail rides with new friends…

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…and we’ve even gone on trail rides alone!

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I became close friends with Miss Olive Kitty…

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And I have to admit… she’s kind of my girlfriend now. We’ve been going steady since the winter. We were friends for a while before that, but there was one particularly rainy week when our bond just rapidly grew. Olive and I were both pretty bummed about the weather. And I know that we need the rain, but rainy days – and especially rainy weeks – mean that we can’t work or even go outside to play. And in Southern California, rainy winter days are usually pretty chilly, too!

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I get to see Olive every day, and it makes me happy that she and Mommy get along, too. Because, you know, sometimes “the parent” and “the significant other” don’t get along all that well! But we three – we’re a happy little family.

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 I even got to start giving lessons to one of my friends, a girl named Madi! She’s much younger than Mommy, but she rides me just like Mommy does, and I love getting to jump and have fun with her! 

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Now, even though I’ve been having a blast and loving my life, not everything I’ve done has been fun. Sometimes, there are things we have to do that aren’t fun, but they’re still necessary.

Like getting my feet trimmed and having new shoes tacked on…

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And going to the dentist… (Or, in my case, having the dentist come to me!)


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Although, I have to say, I’m incredibly lucky because my farrier, Tim Shannon (from Tim’s Horseshoeing in Southern California) is the BEST farrier in the WORLD – and he’s really nice!

And my dentist – who is also my vet, Tiffany K. Porter, D.V.M. – is one of Mommy’s oldest friends, and she’s also really, really nice! And that definitely helps to make those “necessary evils” a lot less “evil.”

Getting Back in the Game 

Now, I haven’t been jumping all that much lately, because (in true “Icchy” form, of course) I’ve been repeatedly getting hurt and having to heal… even getting some “hay fever” type allergy attacks and having to take more time off… And every time I take time off, I have to take even more time to get back into shape. But Mommy and I have been back to our normal workout schedule for a while now, and we’re both getting pretty fit… So I think we’ll be jumping again very soon! And when we do, I’ll be sure to write and tell you all about it, maybe even with some photos and videos! (And don’t worry… I won’t take another year to do it!)

Well, friends, it’s been so nice talking to you again… I missed you. I really did. I’m sorry again that I was gone for so long, but I’ll talk to y’all soon… And that’s a promise!

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Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Camp Shenanigans

If you don’t already know, shenanigans can be defined as “silly or high-spirited behavior.” And that, friends, is what today was all about!

But let me back up and start at the beginning…

Yesterday our friend, Shelley, asked Mommy if we would be willing to do a jumping demonstration for her summer camp kids. Mommy said that the decision would ultimately be up to me, but of course I’m always happy to show off – especially jumping, and especially for a large audience full of amazing little kids who are learning to be equestrians! (Plus, jumping day always means marshmallows… And you know how much I love marshmallows!)

So today, Mommy and I got to have a great deal of “silly and high-spirited fun” while jumping over a big ol’ triple oxer, showing off for the summer camp kids and counselors!

Of course, we warmed up over smaller oxers first… But the real fun started when the oxer got up to 3 feet and 6 inches – because the spread (which just means the width of the jump) was 4 feet and 9 inches! 

3'6 oxer with a 4'9 spread

3’6 with a 4’9 spread? Come on, Mom… this is easy!

After jumping the oxer successfully at that height, Mommy asked our friend, Jan – who was also video taping us – to raise up the back pole a hole at a time until we were jumping 4 feet high with a 4-foot-9-inch spread! (Thanks, Jan!)

Jumping big oxers like that is a lot of fun… but do you know what makes it even more fun?

Having an audience to cheer for me when I clear the jump!

And do you know what might even be better than marshmallows as a reward for doing well?

Lots and lots of HUGS from my wonderful little friends!

I love getting hugs! They're the BEST!

I love getting hugs! They’re the BEST!

Of course, even though I do love hugs – and they might really be as good of a reward as marshmallows…. Mommy still gave me lots of marshmallows, too!

Mmmm... My favorite jumping day treat! Thanks, Mommy!

Mmmm… My favorite jumping day treat! Thanks, Mommy!

All in all, today was an awesome day. It might even be my favorite day in August – and the month has only just begun! I’m just saying that something super-duper-spectacular is going to have to happen in order to move up higher in the rankings than this wonderful, amazing day.

Thanks to all of my new friends who came out to support me and cheer for me during my jumping demonstration! Y’all made it a fun, silly and exciting day for me – and I hope it was the same for you!

My awesome friends who cheered me on during the jumping demonstration! Thanks, y’all!

Well, that’s about all I have to share for today… Stay cool in this heat, friends – and I’ll catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Adventures Never End

Friends, I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve written; I can assure you that it has not been for any lack of excitement around here! Actually, there has been more excitement than I’ve known what to do with. I have a lot to tell you and a lot to catch you up on… but first, I have to tell you about what happened the other evening when Mommy came out to give me my dinner grain!

As usual, I watched Mommy drive up and get out of her car. I waited (im)patiently for her to come over and say hello… but, to my surprise, she didn’t! She and Kimberly, Splash’s Mommy, were standing by the fence, staring at the horses in the neighboring ranch. When I saw some movement from the ground of the paddock by the hay feeder, I put my head over the top of my stall to get a better view of what was going on. I saw Mommy climb through the fence and run over there, and that’s when I realized that there was a horse down with his legs stuck in the fence of his pipe corral! He couldn’t get up!

Mommy went to the horse and tried to calm him down so he wouldn’t thrash around and hurt himself, and then she looked him over to make sure he wasn’t seriously hurt. I saw her get up and run all the way to the other end of the neighbor’s property where it looked like there was a little barn or a house, and I could hear her yelling for someone to help.

When she came running back alone, I knew that meant that no one was home over there. Before I could even make the suggestion to her, I heard Mommy say that she was going to go try to find the guys who work at our barn to help get the horse free. She asked Kimberly to go and keep the horse calm so that he didn’t injure himself by thrashing around, and then Mommy hopped back into her car and disappeared quickly out of sight.

When Mommy’s car returned, she was followed by Cassie, one of the guys who works at our ranch, and his brother. They all hopped the fence and ran over to where Kimberly and the horse were. Cassie had a knife and some rope, and I could see that they were going to try to get the horse free, even though the owners of that ranch were nowhere to be found.

Just a minute later, though, a big truck came driving up on that side of the fence and a guy and a lady hopped out. Everyone looked both calm and a little frantic at the same time. I strained my eyes to see farther (and by that, I really mean that I lifted my head – because, as you probably already know, that’s how we horses see things that are far away), and I realized that the horse also had his head caught under the raised hay-feeder!

Although this isn’t a photo of our neighbor’s property, their hay-feeder looked sort of like this:

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…and the horse’s head was caught underneath, with his neck resting on the bar on the bottom. It must have been so uncomfortable for that poor guy!

The first thing the “Rescue Team” did was to put a halter on the horse (Mommy got that part done), and then Mommy held the horse’s head up while two people moved the hay feeder carefully away from the horse’s head. It’s a good thing Cassie brought a knife, too, because the hay feeder was tied to the pipe corral fence with bailing twine, and they had to use the knife to cut it in order to move the feeder. Then, Cassie and his brother wrapped some ropes underneath the armpit of the horse’s front legs and more rope around his back legs, and together, Mommy and the two guys rolled the horse over onto his other side, with the other lady helping to make sure that the horse’s legs got out from under the pipe corral fence while they rolled him over.

Later, when Mommy finally was able to come over to me and give me my dinner grain, she told me that the horse had some big gashes from trying to free himself, but that he was otherwise unharmed. I was relieved to hear that! The only bad part was that the poor guy has COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and that he was having a hard time breathing. The lady and the guy who work at the other barn were going to give the poor, sweet horse a shower and then clean his wounds and let him get some rest.

As Mommy was telling me all this, we saw the lady leading the horse out of the wash area. The horse was stumbling badly, and then we heard the lady start to yell to her co-worker. I don’t think he could hear her, because he didn’t come running. Mommy, however, did. She ran over and climbed the fence again just in time to see the horse fall down – hard. I saw the lady point up toward the barn at the other end of the property, and Mommy took off in that direction again. I assumed that the lady had asked Mommy to get the guy that she had been yelling for; sure enough, Mommy and that same guy came running back down toward the lady and the fallen horse.

The guy shoved something in the horse’s mouth – which Mommy told me later was a medicated inhaler – and then the horse lifted his head as though he was going to try to get up. He didn’t, though; I could see his sides heaving all the way from my stall. The poor thing had clearly blacked out from lack of oxygen! Once she knew the horse was okay and that she wasn’t needed anymore, Mommy came walking back over to me. She said that those nice people were going to let the horse lay there and catch his breath for as long as he needed to, and then they were going to continue taking care of his wounds. I was glad for the horse that he had people who cared so much about him.

When I didn’t see that horse for a couple days after that, I began to grow worried; but, as it turned out, the people had just been keeping him up in the barn so that he could recover from this traumatic incident. When I saw them walking him back out to his paddock, I wanted to cheer! Instead, I just shoved my nose into Mommy’s pocket and sniffed for carrots or treats.

So, that about sums up that bit of excitement… but there has been plenty more going on aside from that! Let’s see… Where do I even begin?

Well, the last time we spoke, I had just encountered my first rattle snake, right? Yes, I remember now… I was incredibly brave. I think it was Mommy who ran away scared, wasn’t it? Since then, I’ve done lots and lots of things. For instance…

Mommy has been stepping up the intensity of our workouts. She has this horrid little book – ummm, I mean… this awesome little book with A HUNDRED AND ONE exercises to prepare a horse for jumping, and she’s been pulling ideas from it constantly! That’s right. OVER A HUNDRED EXERCISES. And Mommy clearly thinks these exercises are great. Not that I don’t, of course… At least she doesn’t make me do more than one or two different ones each day. One if I have to practice harder before I can get it right, and two if I seem to pick up on one or both fairly quickly.

We did a pattern of circles with some lead changes thrown in…

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And we did cloverleaf patterns with tiny little circles in each direction at the trot and canter…

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And then one day we did some other squiggly pattern with lead changes thrown in…

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And we even did a crazy little circle pattern that took me the entire second half of our workout to perfect. First, we went over two poles on a circle to the inside, and then turned to the outside for a circle… and back over two poles on a circle to the inside… and so on. (If you still don’t understand what the pattern is – don’t worry. Neither did I!)

All of these exercises have been hard work, but I have to admit that they’re actually kind of fun. They really make me think hard about what Mommy is asking me to do, and they force me to pay better attention. Mommy said that she feels I’m behaving much better in general lately – and I guess she thinks it’s because of that!

Anyway, it hasn’t all been work without play… I got to jump a little one-stride line a few weeks ago, and it was pretty fun. We got up to about three feet high on the second jump, which was plenty for me. It’s a lot harder than you would think, going from one jump to the next with only a stride in between!

I also got to meet a bunch of Mommy’s family one weekend. I got to meet some of her second cousins, as well as one of her great-aunts and one of her great-uncles. And they were all pretty great!

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I even got lots of hugs, which was the best part! You know how much I love hugs.

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And a couple days after that, I got to meet Mommy’s brother and sister-in-law!

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Mommy’s sister-in-law is pregnant with a baby human, so – naturally – she wanted to go over and say hello to the baby horse!

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But, of course, she was much more excited to meet me than any of the other horses… because, you know… I’m a celebrity and all that.

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It was truly wonderful getting to meet Mommy’s human family – and not only because they all gave me a ton of treats! I love making new friends, especially when they’re humans who mean so very much to my Mommy.

The week following the excitement of meeting the family, I got to jump again! That time, though, we worked our way up to a vertical that was three and a half feet high! Now, as y’all know, that’s basically child’s play to me… Except for the fact that I’m still not in my top performance shape, so it was actually just a little bit difficult at first. But then it got easier and easier. I begged Mommy to let me jump higher, but she said that 3’6 was plenty high enough for that day.

Aside from all of that excitement, Mommy and I have just been hanging out together…

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…and hanging out with friends…

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Watching romantic sunsets together…

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Goofing around…

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And just enjoying life in general.

That’s about all the excitement that I have to share with you today, friends. I promise I’ll try not to wait so long before I write again! Stay cool, and I’ll catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Fearless Princess

One of the things that I love the most about California – as I know I’ve mentioned before – is how friendly and outgoing everyone is here, and how easy it is to make friends!

You see, I’ve always been able to make friends with humans pretty easily, being that I’m super lovable and sweet (and handsome and charming) (and modest!). Most of the horses I’ve met have ended up wanting to be my friends, too… except for the ones who had a major chip on their withers (which honestly haven’t been that many). I’ve even made friends with some dogs – like Annie, the dog I became friends with when I lived at my Aunt Joyce’s house in New York.

But all my life, I’ve always wanted to make friends with a kitty. There’s just something about them; they’re so regal and independent. If you win the hard-earned love and friendship of a kitty, you know you’ve done something worthwhile. (Not like winning the friendship of a dog, where all you have to do is glance in their general direction and you’ve won them over. Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m pretty much the same way. I love making friends with dogs – because my friendship is just as easy to win!)

Anyway, I’m sure most of you remember Rocky the Kitty, right? He was a kitty that I became friends with in Tennessee. He was shy and a little nervous at first, but we quickly became buddies. The only bad part about my friendship with Rocky was that he didn’t like to hug or cuddle – and I love to hug and cuddle. 

Then, when I moved out here to California, I became friends with a kitty named Olive and also with her barn-sister, a kitty named Becky. They’re both wonderful and love to hang out with Mommy and me. But I have finally met a kitty who takes the entire carrot-cake. She’s probably my best kitty friend in the whole world, and I’ve barely known her a single day!

Yesterday, while Mommy and I were working, we noticed that we had an audience.

Look, Mommy! There's Princess!

Look, Mommy! There’s Princess!

So, when it was time to take a break, we went over to say hello.

Princess gave me the warmest, friendliest hello of any kitty I’ve ever met before. She gave me a “kitty hug” before I’d even had a chance to introduce myself!

Well, hello there, Princess! It's nice to finally meet you up close!

Well, hello there, Princess! It’s nice to finally meet you up close!

Mommy leaned down to pet Princess and say hello, too, and then Princess did something completely unexpected.

She climbed right up into Mommy’s lap… on my back!

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I stood really still, because I didn’t want to scare her – but I should have known better. Any Princess who is brave enough to climb onto a horse’s back is clearly fearless!

As soon as she hopped up into the saddle, I could feel that weird, happy vibration that humans call “purring.” (I don’t know how those kitties do it, but I sure wish I could purr. There are lots of occasions when I would purr if I could, like when Daddy used to massage my ears… Or when I’m eating my grain!)

Anyway, Princess was apparently so happy to be sitting on my back that she decided to take a nap. That was fine with me, though, because it meant that I could take a longer break and just hang out, eating grass over the wall!

You just sleep as loooong as you want to, Princess!

You just sleep as loooong as you want to, Princess!

Mommy thought it was absolutely hysterical that Princess just jumped up into her lap while she was on my back, but I thought it was really cool. I knew that Princess and I would be best friends forever!

Now THAT is a happy kitty!

Now THAT is a happy kitty!

Eventually, Mommy told Princess that she’d either have to ride double with us while I finished my workout, or that she would have to get back down and watch from the sidelines. After a few more cuddles and a big hug (and head-scratchies from Mommy, which made Princess purr even louder), my newest kitty friend hopped back down onto the wall and wandered off to catch some mice, or sleep in the sunshine, or whatever it is that Princesses do in their free time.

Yep, I think I’m really going to love it here in California… In fact, I already do!

That’s about all I’ve got for you today, friends. I’ll continue to keep you updated on my California adventures; I’m sure there are many more to come. Catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

California Culture

Well, I’ve been living in California for almost three weeks now, and I think it’s about time for me to report on what I’ve learned.

Important Facts About California:

  • This time of year, the nights get chilly (but not quite “Tennessee-cold”) and the days get hot rather quickly.
  • The sun actually does shine as much as “they” say it does, but so far it’s not as humid as Tennessee or Florida… or even New York. (I guess we’ll see what the summer brings!)
  • Psyllium, although I haven’t had any yet, is definitely a necessity here because there is a lot of sand – and Mommy told me that Psyllium will help to clean out the sand from inside my belly.
  • People (and horses and cats) are as warm and friendly as the weather here, which makes it really easy to make friends. I’ve made quite a few friends already; even the horses who were grumpy at first and swore they’d never be my friend have warmed up to me (and some of them even whinny at me when they see me coming!)
  • The Alfalfa hay here in California is like candy, it’s so delicious.
  • Palm trees look neat, but I can’t really form an opinion on them until I’ve had a chance to taste them… which I don’t think will ever happen, because they’re all really tall.

I guess there’s more, but that about sums up what I’ve learned thus far about the culture and the environment. I’ll share more of my findings as I learn more about this amazing state. (After all, I still haven’t gone out on a trail ride yet!)

The Most Important Ingredient

I’ve been getting into a pretty good routine here, but I know it’s probably going to change a few times. For now, though, I get to see Mommy twice a day (every day!) and I’ve already made a few friends, like I mentioned before. The best part is that I’ve made friends with a fairly wide range of species, including horses, cats and humans. And friends are the most important ingredient in the recipe of life… that is, aside from family!

My friends, Splash and Sally

The first friends I made, of course, were Ringo and Chip – but Chip actually moved on to a different barn to become a dressage superstar. From what he told me, he loves dressage and was pretty excited to pursue his passion. I’m happy for him, but I do miss him.

I didn’t get a chance to miss him for long, however, before a new friend moved in. This sweet, older mare named Splash now lives next to me in Chip’s old stall. (She’s the one who told me at first that she didn’t want to be my friend.) When I came over to say hello to her the day she moved in, she pinned her ears and squealed at me like I’d done something wrong. Of course, I’ve gotten that reaction from horses before (though not very often – I’m much too lovable for that), so I wasn’t really phased by it. I simply gave her a minute and then tried another tactic. I very casually told her how my Mommy loves to share my treats with my friends (and there are always lots of treats to be shared), so friendship with me definitely had a couple upsides.

After a moment’s contemplation, Splash said that she’d give me a trial period. But the first time Mommy came through with carrots for everyone, Splash realized that I hadn’t been fibbing – and I think it solidified our new friendship instantly. Now, after I’ve been out of my stall for a while, she even whinnies to me when I come back!

On the other side of Splash is a pretty little gray mare named Sally. I met Sally one day when she was running around in the arena and showing off how beautifully she moves. Mommy wanted to go for a walk, but I was too captivated by Sally; I just wanted to stay and watch her dance! Sally’s human is named Elizabeth. She and her Mommy, Shelley, are two of my other new friends. They’re both very sweet and always say hello when they see me. Shelley is also a trainer at my barn!

Khalid, I think you're my new best friend.

Khalid, I think you’re my new best friend.

Another friend that I’ve made is this older horse named Khalid. He’s not in the Mare Motel where Sally, Splash, Ringo and I live; he’s actually up the hill in one of the pipe corrals. I met him one day while Mommy and I were taking a walk around the property, as we do every so often (for exercise and a change of scenery). When I got to his corral, he came right over to the fence to say hello. I don’t know what it was about him, but he and I made an instant connection! We started grooming on one another and declared each other our new “besties.”

Khalid

Seriously, dude… Do you want me to take that off for you?

Khalid wears a big fly mask that I always want to take off for him. I’ve never actually asked him if he even likes wearing it – I just know that I don’t like to wear my fly mask (it makes my face itchy, even though it keeps the flies off of it), so one day I unfastened the velcro for him. He seemed to think it was pretty funny, and I bet he would have let me take the whole thing off for him… but Mommy told me to stop before I got that far. “Not everyone hates their fly mask the way you do, Icchy,” she said to me as she re-fastened the velcro. “Khalid might actually like having his on. It keeps the flies off of his face – and it’s like wearing sunglasses! You’d be a better friend if you left it on for him!”

I supposed that Mommy had a pretty good point, so the next time I saw Khalid I just shared my carrots with him instead of trying to take off his fly mask. (But that still doesn’t stop me from taking of my own fly mask whenever Mommy puts it on my face!)

Two more human friends I’ve made are Bernie and Lou. They are so nice! They always bring carrots and give everyone some as a special treat. I haven’t really made friends with their horses, Lady and Whisky, but I know I’m going to. Lady is also a retired racehorse – just like me! But she squeals at me when I try to come over to her and say hello, so I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. I know she’ll warm up to me one day soon, and then I’ll be able to make friends with Whisky, as well!

I love you, Aunt Bonnie!

I love you, Aunt Bonnie!

Anyway, I didn’t tell you about my Aunt Bonnie yet, or about her boy, Chief. My Aunt Bonnie is the one who spoils me the most (aside from my Mommy, of course). I love her! She’s always bringing me over treats and little buckets filled with the most delicious hay pellets. I mean, you’d think they’d be boring because they’re just hay made into pellets, right? Wrong! They’re scrumptious and I love eating them! Mommy said that they give me green lipstick, but I don’t mind – especially because Mommy said green lipstick looks good on me. (How could it not? Everything looks good on me!) I try to let my Aunt Bonnie know how much I appreciate her by giving her lots of kisses (without the lipstick). But I think she probably already knows that I love her. After all… she’s my Aunt Bonnie!

Hey, Chief!

And do you know what the best part is? My Aunt Bonnie’s boy, Chief, is another one of my good friends! We met one day when I was walking around with Mommy. We didn’t have to walk very far because Chief lives in the row of pipe corrals right next to the Mare Motel! It was another one of those instant connections; we met and began grooming on each other immediately. Chief is a big sweetheart and has lots of love and patience to go around. Do you know what Chief does? Among many other things, he gives lessons to children with disabilities. He keeps them safe and gives them confidence. He’s basically a superstar! That’s probably why we got along so well to begin with – we’re both superstars! (I know, I know… I’m supposed to try to be more modest… But come on, we all know it’s true!)

Now, I know I’ve told you about my kitty friend, Olive. (She’s the one who came over and hung out with me while I worked and then even stayed to graze with me afterward.) But I’ve made more than just one kitty friend; there are so many cats at this barn who love to be around us horses! That makes me pretty happy. Y’all know how much I love making friends, big and small.

So, aside from Olive, my next best-kitty-friend is Becky. She’s a pretty little Calico cat and she loves to hang out with me, whatever I’m doing. She even comes into my stall and cuddles with me sometimes while Mommy grooms on me. When she’s hanging out with me, I try to stand really still so I don’t accidentally step on her or scare her – but she seems to be very familiar with horses and knows when to get out of the way. She’s so fast! She can jump so high! And, from what I hear, she’s a really good hunter, too. Becky likes to rub her body and her tail against me, and Mommy told me that’s like giving a hug in kitty language. I love hugs; I’ll take all the hugs I can get!

My special little friend, Becky.

My special little friend, Becky.

There are a couple other kitties at the barn who I don’t know that well yet, but they still like to come and hang out with me. Sometimes they even watch me work in the mornings, which is awesome, because – as anyone who knows me knows – I love having an audience. It’s nice when my friends come and watch me work because it gives me a chance to show off a little bit – even when it’s just a group of my kitty friends. Having anyone there, though, gives me confidence and makes me want to work even harder than I already do!

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A lot of the time, on a hot, sunny day, I see the kitties sitting together on the patio of the show barn. They’re all such good friends; it makes me happy to see them enjoying their life. These lucky cats get to roam around the property during the day, making friends and hanging out with humans and horses and each other – and sometimes even catching the mice and rats who like to try to steal our grain. And then, at night, they get to sleep indoors, safe from all of the scary animals who lurk in the darkness at night, just waiting to catch a small kitty for a midnight snack. It’s clear that their humans give them the best of everything… just like my own humans do for me!

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Not All Fun And Games… But Mostly

Now, in case you were starting to think that my life mainly consists of hanging out and making friends… well, I guess that’s actually true. But I do still work very hard on a(n almost) daily basis. As many of you know, it’s my goal to become a “Grand Prix Jumper” someday in the very near future, and that means that I have to practice and get into the best shape of my life! Last year, I had a lot of time off because of a couple misplaced nails in my shoes, and then the winter in Tennessee was cold and rainy and snowy – so I arrived in California with very little muscle and even less stamina, because it had been so long since I’d had a consistent workout schedule. But that all changed the day I arrived in Sunny SoCal. It was time to get into shape and start really working toward my goals! Mommy said that she was out of shape too, though, so we would be able to get into shape together.

Mommy and I have both been working very hard. We don’t work more than 4 or 5 days each week, though – and never 5 days in a row – because Mommy feels that resting after a hard workout is just as important as the workout itself. She doesn’t want me to get degenerative joint disease, which is a real possibility for horses who work as hard as I do! So the days of rest give my muscles and joints a chance to repair themselves, which in turn makes me even stronger. Of course, “a day of rest” doesn’t mean that I just sit in my stall all day, bored and unfulfilled. Sometimes it means I get to go for a long walk around the property with Mommy, saying hello to all of the friends I’ve made.

All my friends

And it usually means that I get turned out in the arena, where I get to run and play and roll and buck as much as I want to! Mommy doesn’t chase me or make me run on my days off; I only run if I want to, but I almost always buck and roll and take some time to act silly!

Acting Silly

My workouts have been getting increasingly more difficult since landing here in California. We started out with light, easy workouts, just aiming to get back into the swing of things. At first, that was plenty; I was out of breath after a twenty minute workout… and so was Mommy. But we’ve been increasing the length and intensity of our workouts as we both get into better shape.

We work out at all different times of the day, too. Most of the time we ride mid-morning, but sometimes Mommy rides in the evening – and sometimes, we get up before the sun even peeks out over the hills of the canyon where we live!

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Because I’ve been working so hard and trying my best to focus and behave every time Mommy and I ride, I got rewarded by getting to jump a little bit! The jump was really small, though, and it made me frustrated because I miss jumping BIG jumps! I mean, I used to jump five feet high, before the “hot nail incidents,” so why can’t I just go back to jumping five feet again right now?!

Well, I found out the answer to that after jumping a little, tiny jump a few times in a row: I was sore! Even though the jump was small, I was using muscles that I hadn’t used in a while. Then I understood why Mommy was torturing me by making me jump something that seemed too small to be worth the effort. She knew I’d be sore the next day, and she wants to make sure that I work my way back up to those big jumps slowly. She even gave me a liniment bath afterward and wrapped my legs in standing wraps, which I was pretty happy about, because it helped keep my legs from “stocking up,” or getting swollen, when I went back to my stall.

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After another week’s worth of flat work, Mommy decided that I deserved another day of fun. So one morning, instead of riding me and doing our normal workout, Mommy turned me out in the arena and let me gallop around. Then, to my surprise, she set up a small jump and let me go over it by myself, without her on my back!

It’s been a long time since I’ve “free jumped,” and it was a lot of fun. Mommy actually ended up putting me on the lunge line, though, because she didn’t want me wasting too much energy by galloping all around the huge arena after each jump; she knew I’d be tired and sore enough just from jumping. I had so much fun! I even got to jump a small oxer! Mommy let me jump as many times as I wanted to, until I was so tired that I could only trot over the jump. I wanted to keep jumping, even at a trot, but Mommy said that it was probably enough for the day.

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Because I had worked so hard and I was so tired after free jumping, Mommy decided that I should walk on the hot-walker. Of course, she let me walk around in the arena first (and roll, because I was itchy and sweaty), but she wanted to make sure that I walked enough, so that I wouldn’t tie up or colic or get really, really sore.

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After walking on the hot-walker for a while, Mommy gave me a liniment bath and wrapped my legs in standing wraps again, too. Then we got to hang out and graze for a while before I went back to my stall and took a long nap! I’m usually pretty exhausted after my workouts, but it’s a good feeling because it means that I’m officially back in the game! 

Today I got two extra special treats. Not only did Mommy’s human parents come to see me, which was really exciting and fun, but they also brought me a scrumptious carrot cake cupcake with delicious cream cheese frosting that Mommy’s sister-in-law made for Easter! At first, I didn’t know what to make of it and I accidentally spat it out. But then I regretted that immediately! Mommy picked it up and took the dirt off of it before giving it back to me, and then I gobbled it up!

Easter Cupcake

Actually, those weren’t even the only two special treats that I got today. While Mommy and I were working in the lower arena, I was trying to be on my best behavior and show off a little for her parents (because, as I’ve said, I love having an audience). Since I was being such a good boy, Mommy decided that I would get to jump a little bit today, too! That made me very happy, not only because I love jumping, but because it meant I’d have a chance to show off a little bit more for “my audience!” We still only jumped a small jump – but it was still a lot of fun. And since I’d gotten to free jump a few days before, I didn’t feel the need to rush or get silly when I was jumping today! Mommy was very proud of me and I could tell that her human parents were, too!

Jumping!

Everything is Meaningful

Mommy said that the most important thing right now – in regard to jumping, anyway – is that I stay calm and listen to her, instead of getting excited and trying to rush over the jump or take control. She promised me that I’d get to move up to bigger jumps pretty soon, as long as I keep working hard on my flatwork and grid work, and focus on everything she asks me to do.

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She assured me that even the boring exercises have a purpose; if I try my best, even at the exercises that I don’t particularly enjoy, then I’ll be back into shape and ready to start jumping courses again in no time! Then again, I’m sure that “no time” means something different to her than what it means to me… I have to admit, though, I really don’t mind working hard when Mommy and I ride because she gives me lots of love and attention, and she allows me to have a lot of fun, too. I mean, I wouldn’t have been able to make as many friends as I have if she didn’t come to the barn to spend so much time with me and make sure that I’m not bored and lonely. She also promised that we’ll get to go out for a trail ride soon so that I don’t have to be in the arena all of the time. Although, I must say, having three arenas to work in makes the arena work much more interesting!

Anyway, I’m sure there’s more that I could tell you – as always – but I’m about ready to hit the shavings and get some sleep. So I’ll catch y’all later!

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Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My newest friends

Okay, I know it’s been a while, but there’s been a lot going on! I’m a busy horse these days, you know. I’ve been making friends all over the place!

A few nights ago, Mommy showed up at the barn super late in the evening with a friend of hers. It was so late, I’d already eaten my dinner grain and half of my night hay, and I was taking a nap when they arrived! Mommy said her friend’s name was Ashley, and that she’d known Ashley for a long time. I could tell that Ashley was a horsewoman, because she walked right up to me and began petting my face and scratching behind my ears! Ashley lives in Washington D.C. and came to Nashville just to meet me! 

My new friend, Ashley!

My new friend, Ashley!

Mommy and I worked in the dressage arena, even though it was really dark; that arena has lights that are almost as bright as daytime. I loved showing off for Ashley because she always clapped and cheered me on when I did something well! (And even sometimes when I didn’t!)

And last night, I met another one of Mommy’s friends. Apparently, she’s known this guy even longer than she’s known my friend, Ashley!

My new friend, Anthony!

My new friend, Anthony!

His name is Anthony, and he immediately won me over when he gave me some treats!

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Mmm, molasses cookies – my favorite!!

Anthony lives in California and also in Dallas. I’ve never been to either of those places, but Anthony said that I’d probably like them both. And you know what? He came to Nashville just to see me! 

Anyway, I thought that Anthony was going to watch Mommy and me ride, but as it turned out, he was there to take a riding lesson, himself!

That's Jenna giving Anthony a lesson on Sonny!

That’s Jenna giving Anthony a lesson on Sonny!

He did a great job, and he’s going to take another lesson tomorrow.

I had today off, though I didn’t mind it one bit. I got to go outside into a paddock with lots of grass while Anthony had his riding lesson, and I was happy to come in when they were done. It was hot today! And the flies were biting me non-stop!

Wow, this grass looks delicious!

Wow, this grass looks delicious!

You see, the reason I had today off is because I banged my ankle when I was being silly in my stall, and it was swollen today when Mommy got there. She wanted me to go out for a little while in order to help with the circulation, but she didn’t want me to stay out too long because she knew I would probably end up hurting myself… again. When I went back inside, Mommy told me that I’d better not have any more bumps or bruises when she came back again to check on me! She told me that if I didn’t, and I was all in one sound piece, I would get to actually do some work tomorrow!

That’s about all I have to say for today, friends. Stay out of the heat and make sure you have lots of water to drink! I’ll catch y’all later!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Withering away…

Friends, I’m sorry that I haven’t written in such a long time. The truth is, I’ve been too upset to write… because I feel like I have nothing to write about! I’m still lame, and being lame is still lame.

I’m disappointed and frustrated that my hoof is taking so long to heal, because every other part of me feels just fine. I have a ton of energy, and I know Mommy wants to work as badly as I do!

"Come on, Mommy! Let's get back to work, already!"

“Come on, Mommy! Let’s get back to work, already!”

I’m glad that I still get to go outside with my friends at night. That’s really what has been saving me from insanity. I get to stretch, I get to socialize, and now and again I even get the other horses to run around with me! But, um, don’t tell my Mommy about that last part…

Chilling with my friend, Bruce

Chilling with my friend, Bruce

Tonight, though, I have to stay inside. You see, last night (and all day today) it rained pretty hard – and non-stop, too – so Mommy and Daddy didn’t want me out there in the mud. Which was probably a wise choice on their part, especially considering that they know how much I love to be covered in mud!

This is what I looked like this morning when I came in from the paddock. Mommy had to give me a shower while it was pouring down rain!

Yes, I sure do love my life...

Yes, I sure do love my life…

For once, I really liked having a shower, though I would have liked it if Mommy had just left me muddy. I mean, I worked hard to cover every inch of myself!

Anyway, I had to stay in my stall all day today, and I’m in all night, too. I’ll probably have to stay in tomorrow as well, since it’s supposed to rain for a couple more days. At this rate, I feel like I’ll never get back to work! I know, I know; I just have to be patient. It’ll be here sooner than I realize. It’s just that it’s been so long, and I’m so ready to get back to work!

Well, I hope that y’all have had a nice Fourth of July, friends, and that the fireworks didn’t rattle your nerves too badly. Just try to remember that they’re far away, and they can’t harm you from where they are. Unless your humans are lighting them off in the barn – in which case, RUN! And call me immediately!

Alright, friends. I guess I’ll catch y’all later!

 

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cribbing Saga

Although I did jump today (I cantered through a six stride line in a beautiful, collected seven strides!), that’s not what I want to talk about tonight.

I know, I'm perfect.

I know, I’m perfect.

I even got to have a shower in the new wash rack that they finished building at my barn (two weeks before I leave! Go figure… That’s just my luck!) But that’s not what I want to talk to you about, either.

Wow, I feel like a king in here!

Wow, I feel like a king in here!

Tonight, I want to talk to you about a very serious problem that afflicts many of us horses.

Tonight, I want to talk to you about cribbing. Some of you probably already know what that means; for those of you who don’t, I am going to give you as much information as I can. That way, you can get the help you need.

Now, I just want to say, if any of you have this problem – it’s not your fault. And if your humans are willing, you can get help.

Cribbing is an addiction. It doesn’t always start out that way, but once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop. I’m going to explain it to you for purely educational purposes; please do not try this at your own barn.

Cribbing is when you clamp your teeth down on something – usually the wooden fence rail – arch your neck, and suck in air. It releases endorphins, which basically make you feel… really good. Happy, I guess you could say. Endorphins are the same things that make you happy after a really good workout with your human (that, and pride). But exercising is a healthy way to get those endorphins; cribbing is not.

You see, cribbing is very bad for your teeth and your digestive system. It can cause ulcers – painful holes in the lining of your stomach – and it can even cause you to colic. If any of you have ever had colic, you know that it’s not only painful, it’s also potentially deadly. But try eating a crunchy carrot or some grain when your teeth are messed up and falling out from cribbing!

I have a friend… we’ll just call him “Jeremiah.” And this friend of mine… he cribs. He cribs all day, every day. He cribs in the paddock. He even cribs on the divider between his stall and his neighbor’s stall.

I was never allowed to be near him in the paddock because my Mommy didn’t want him teaching me to crib.

So, you may be wondering what we can do about this. What can we do to help our friends who have this problem?

Well, there’s not much we can do, except to make sure their humans know what’s going on. And don’t worry, you won’t be betraying their trust by “telling on them.” You’ll be betraying them as a friend if you don’t tell on them.

Humans sometimes try to buy a special collar, called a “cribbing collar,” to prevent this compulsive behavior. But those collars only stop you from being able to suck in air – they don’t stop you from biting down and going through the motions. So they eliminate the immediate threat of colic, but you can still ruin your teeth… and the paddock fences.

Humans also sometimes buy nasty tasting stuff to put on the fences or the stall, which is supposed to prevent cribbing because it tastes and smells so awful. But an addict is an addict, and they will often learn to like the taste (or at least tolerate it), just so they can crib again.

“Jeremiah’s” Mommy spared no expense to make sure Jeremiah got the help he needed. My Daddy and Mr. Phil worked together to fix the problem. I saw them working on Jeremiah’s paddock.

"Hey, Daddy... what are you guys doing?"

“Hey, Daddy… what are you guys doing?”

When I asked my Daddy what he was doing, he told me that he was putting a “hot wire” around the perimeter. The “hot wire” is a wire that gives an electric shock if you touch it… and they put it around the very top edge of the fence. So, if Jeremiah were to crib, there’s no way he would be able to do it without getting shocked.

I thought it was a pretty good idea, even though I feel bad for Jeremiah if he shocks himself! I’ve been shocked by electric fences before, and it really hurts.

Anyway, tomorrow is the big day: Daddy will turn the “hot wire” on and we’ll see if it stops Jeremiah from cribbing. I’ll let y’all know how it goes!

Until then, please be careful and don’t try cribbing. It’s not worth it! You never know, you could be the kind of horse who gets addicted after only trying it once. Take my word for it; it’s just not worth it.

I’m always here if any of you need to talk. I won’t judge you, even if you have been cribbing.

Alright, friends. I’m going to go hit the shavings now. I’ll catch y’all tomorrow!

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rainy days are for friends

Last winter, I lived in the warm and sunny Miami, Florida. Even though I lived in New York before that, and Virginia before that, spending last winter in Miami is probably the reason why I don’t feel like I’m used to all of the rain we’ve been getting lately. I think I can actually count the number of days that it rained in Miami last winter on all four hooves.

It’s not that it was pouring today or anything, but the skies were gray and cloudy and the air was damp. It would drizzle now and then – enough so that we had to stay in the little paddocks with the shelters – and once or twice it rained a little harder for a while. Needless to say, I didn’t get to work today. My Mommy said that was okay, though, because she was planning to give me today off either way.

For the most part, today was uneventful. Leo and I got to share the big field that’s connected to a little paddock with a shelter, but neither of us really felt like going into the shelter. Leo actually likes to stand in the rain, and I just like to hang out with Leo. Our friends Isis, Moekie, and Jelly Bean and Jube Jube each had their own little paddock and their own shelters, too. My Daddy came out a couple different times during the day to bring us all hay, which he put into the shelters for us. Since it wasn’t raining at that time, my Daddy put some hay outside for me to eat while Leo ate his inside the shelter.

I think Leo got lonely, because he came outside and walked over to where I was eating my hay. Now, Leo doesn’t like to share his hay, so when he eats in the shelter, I stay away because I don’t want him to try to bite me or kick me. But Leo asked me if I’d mind sharing my hay with him. I thought about it for a minute, and then I decided that it was fine. I mean, he is my best friend, after all. So I told him it was fine, and we shared a pile of steamed hay outside on the grass.

Sharing some hay with my best friend, Leo

Sharing some hay with my best friend, Leo

I love having a best friend to share hay with on rainy days. I’ve had a lot of best friends in my life (remind me to tell you sometime about my best friend in New York, a Palomino named Cooper), but I’ve never had a best friend like Leo. He’s the best best friend I’ve ever had.

Oh, did you guys hear a lot of fireworks last night? We heard a bunch of them, but they didn’t really scare us. I mean, if my friends had been scared, I’d probably have been scared, too. But we weren’t, we just kept eating our hay and ignored all the loud noises.

Anyway, the humans always say that they have “New Year’s Resolutions,” and I figured that I might as well have some, too. Here they are:

1. I resolve to jump higher than I’ve ever jumped before…
2. I resolve to gallop faster than I’ve ever galloped before…
3. I resolve not to get so carried away while jumping courses…
4. I resolve to compete and WIN the competitions I enter…
5. I resolve not to buck as often anymore… at least, not with a human on my back…
6. I resolve to come up with new cute and silly faces that will convince my humans to give me more treats.

Oh, and my Mommy said that I should also resolve to stop untying shoes and stealing hats… but I’m not too sure about those ones yet. Untying people’s shoes is really fun! I’d love to hear what your “New Year’s Resolutions” are, too! Whatever they are, work hard at them and I’m sure they’ll come true. Happy New Year, friends.

Cross your hooves for me that tomorrow is sunny, because I really want to work! Catch y’all later…

Categories: A Day in the Life of Icchy Star, Memories and Nostalgia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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